Most people in the Bay area will recall that the Bay Bridge was backed up for hours due to a wrong-way wreck in the eastbound lane. A 32-year-old woman has been accused of driving under the influence of drugs and ending up travelling in the incorrect lane, headed the wrong way against the grain of traffic. Though the accident on the bridge caused traffic to grind to a halt for about 2 hours, there were only minor injuries reported in the incident. The woman (whose name has been omitted for reasons of privacy) was arrested on charges of driving without a license and a DUI causing injury.
CA Vehicle Code 23153 addresses a DUI with injury – injury that has occurred for the reason that an individual has been operating their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Prosecutors, in fact, must be able to prove that the use of drugs or alcohol was the actual cause of the accident that resulted in the injury of another person. Punishment for this particular crime, however, widely varies depending on the particular circumstances of an individual case. In other words, a violation of CA VC 23153 could be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Misdemeanor DUI with injury penalties include informal probation for anywhere from 3 to 5 years, up to 1 year in county jail, a maximum of $5,000 in fines, participation in a state approved DUI school, license suspension for up to 3 years, and possible restitution to the persons that have been injured. Felony DUI penalties are even more harsh; they can include up to 4 years in state prison plus another 1 year for each person injured (3 maximum), approximately $5,000 in fines, DUI school, 3-year HTO (Habitual Traffic Offender) status, and revocation of your license for a period of 5 years.